In ever increasing numbers, businesses are plugging into technology-based business platforms; enabling them to gain extensive insights into their trading landscape, as never before.
Non-employing companies account for around 60 percent of businesses, with micro-businesses accounting for around 25 percent. It makes sense that these businesses would be spending a considerable amount of their valuable time doing their own accounts or a considerable amount of money employing someone else to do them.
One example of this is financial accounting.
Until recently, businesses were forced to rely on clunky spreadsheets to manage huge amounts of data. Anyone who has ever worked with Excel spreadsheets knows that, past the most basic functions, you need to have the IQ of a rocket scientist. Hiring staff who have the capabilities to extrapolate information and calculate formulas, can be a costly exercise.
Accounting software has transformed data collecting and management.
However, until recently, many businesses were forced to use a trial and error approach to their accounting software. Inefficient systems, which were labour intensive and difficult to translate into real time information retrieval, were quickly becoming seen as cumbersome and outdated.
This then begs the question – ‘what should a business, seeking to streamline its functions, be looking for in their accounting software?’
Fast information retrieval
The best small business accounting software packages will boast the ability to quickly:
- Access documents through a centralised system
- Calculate all levels of the payroll process including PAYG, time sheets, annual leave, long service leave etc.
- Track inventory and stock levels
- Fast, easy access to banking
- Convert foreign currencies
- Be capable of tracking multiple financial transaction records throughout departments
- Can interface with other systems such as online payments
- Have a strong CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) system
- Offer varying levels of security access to individuals
- Use App technology to make information available 24/7
The ability to report on a wide range of key sectors is a vital capability of any accounting software system.
A single system which has the capacity to produce over 200 kinds of reports is now available. This furnishes the capability to tailor reports, draw data from multiple platforms and present it in an easily digestible form.
Customisation of reports has become a vital business practice.
This allows businesses and organisations to ‘brand’ their reports for wider audience consumption.
Any business lives and dies on its ability to manoeuvre its way through the labyrinth of government rules and regulations. A comprehensive Foundational System needs to :
- Track and collect GST
- Manage BAS
- Produce tax invoices and track payments
- Streamline GST returns
- Compile data, ready for end of the financial year.
Sloppy accounting using sub standard software means that at end of year a lot of SMEs are left floundering. Often admin staff are confused and can’t keep up with changes in tax rules and laws and this leaves businesses at risk of audits and prosecution.
Cloud accounting software means you can have live, accurate data 24/7 and at-a-glance information. Along with the ability to access key business drivers in real time, imagine the benefit of being armed with up to date information in such vital areas as:
- Profit margins
Having the capacity for discretionary access to staff means that, in the case of sales staff, being able to access data on inventory would translate to improved sales data.
One amazing tool that is being utilised in the accounting sector, is the mobile App.
Not only are they providing businesses with up to date data, bookkeepers and accountants are now able to immediately share business
information with their clients.
This high level of transparency enables bookkeepers and accountants to furnish clients with the ability to access cash flow data, such as incomings and outgoings, in real time. This also provides them a platform to monitor a number of key indicators and see how they are tracking.
As a business, can you really afford not to assess how your foundational systems are currently serving your staff, clients and bottom line? By reviewing and streamlining your current software capabilities, you can get a step ahead of the competition and after all, isn’t that what doing business is all about?